Transport minister Mrs Doris Bures dismissed the reopening of the
debate on privatisation as "unnecessary", saying the priority for must
be to strengthen ÖBB's balance sheet. She notes that ÖBB is already
participating in "numerous" strategic partnerships, such as the DB
ÖBB-Eurocity joint venture which operates international passenger
services between Germany and Italy.

Last year ÖBB made an overall loss of Euros 329.8m, largely due to the
poor performance of freight subsidiary Rail Cargo Austria which lost
Euros 353m.

obb.jpgA study published this week by Raiffeisen Bank suggests that despite
its recent high-profile financial difficulties, ÖBB's brand alone is
still worth Euros 1.27bn. However, ÖBB CEO Mr Christian Kern warns the
current conditions are "very unfavourable" towards privatisation and
the company would not achieve its true market value. Kern told
Österreich that the railway's main focus will be to achieve
profitability by 2013 and revealed ÖBB had a strong first quarter,
putting it on target to halve its 2010 loss this year.
Photo: David Gubler